The Gibson County (Tennessee) Sheriff’s Office has added a new decal, reading “One Nation Under God,” to the back bumper of some patrol cars in the fleet, the Jackson Sun reports.
“I didn’t do it to stir the pot,” Sheriff Paul Thomas said. “I just want to do something locally to bring people together. I wasn’t intending to divide the people, and I’m definitely not trying to force my beliefs on anyone — no more than I try to force my disbeliefs on anyone.”
Thomas decided to have the decal put on two patrol cars, and a photo of the sticker was posted on the Gibson County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page late Monday afternoon.
Thomas said some people have messaged him or texted that they did not support the decal or that they thought the sticker violated a separation of church and state. Thomas said he does not believe he has violated a state or federal code, and he has tried to respect the opinions of everyone who has voiced a different belief.
“I want people to rest assured that I’m not trying to force religion on them,” he said. “I respect everybody’s opinion, whether they’re for it or against it.”
Thomas said he’s heard arguments for separation of church and state, and his interpretation of that does not include the decals but focuses on laws imposing religious views.
When Thomas ordered the decals, he had planned to pay for them out of pocket instead of with department funds. Instead, Copies Unlimited, a Milan company where Thomas had placed the order, covered the cost.